LTTP: Bastion

Kind of like that guy who is just now watching every episode of lost. They’ve ended up a little late to the party. Well damnit I’m just as excited about stuff that everyone else has probably already played and I’m going to talk about it anyways. 

Last year the game I was looking forward to the most from Xbox’s Summer of Arcade program was Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (ITSP), actually I’m still looking forward to that game, but everyone was talking about Bastion. The entire industry and all my friends wouldn’t shut up about this “amazing” game so when I finally got my 360 back I decided to pick it up and play it. I get what all the fuss was about now.

After playing the demo I still wasn’t exactly stunned. The art style is fantastic and the narration was neat but threw me off guard at first but something in the back of my head was conflicted about buying Bastion before ITSP. I decided to jump in anyways, I knew I would enjoy the game but I just wasn’t sure if it would live up to the expectations that had been built up by everyone in the whole damn world. *Light Spoilers Ahead*

The moment that changed my pessimistic stance on the game hit me when you’re about to meet Zia in Prosper Bluff. When you start the stage this amazing song starts playing and if you don’t just fall in love with it from the get go, you’re insides are empty. ‘Build That Wall’ finally put all the pieces together for me. The art, narration and music flesh out what becomes a really interesting story that does what any good story does and focuses on the people involved with all the amazing events going on as set pieces to cause the conflict between the people. As the story develops and the feelings for these people and their story grows it’s really hard to leave that all behind and the developer ( Super Giant Games) .seems to understand this by giving you an option to do just that or continue on in the new world at the end of the game.

Any game can be judged by it’s content but something that needs to be pointed out is the design of the game mechanics and how they perfectly fit this game. It’s one of the tightest designs in gaming for 2011 and the industry had a fantastic year last year. The narrator is a big part of interactions between developer and player and it’s obvious they spent a lot of time with this, it could have easily been really bad. I do have a couple of gripes with the game, specifically the difficulty of some of the proving grounds for some weapons. But that could just be a skill issue. Regardless I ended up beating the game twice (thank you SGG for New Game + mode!) and got all the achievements. I could not put this game down until there was nothing left to do.

Bryan Belcher

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